Feature-length Documentary by Heddy Honigmann
Spoken in Portuguese, English subtitles
When Brazil’s greatest poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade died in 1987 and his collection of erotic works was made available to the public, the effect was akin to suddenly realising that Robert Frost secretly wrote like D.H. Lawrence. A good deal of the author’s provocative posthumous texts are sampled in O Amor Natural.
Rather than examining the poet’s life, Heddy Honigmann’s documentary explores the effect his work has on the people who read it. “The poems sometimes functioned as a kind of corkscrew, sometimes as a glass of brandy.”
Honigmann is much more interested in the voices of the aged Rio de Janeiro citizens who, randomly asked to read from her volume of poetry, react with humorous and moving anecdotes about their own sex life and youthful days. A swimmer in her 80’s approves of the author’s use of sensuous water imagery, while a couple of senior citizens lounging at the beach giggle like teens over recollections of their affairs.
O Amor Natural remains hopeful about the unifying potential of the author’s poetry of desire, culminating with a samba version of one of the poems that beautifully illustrates the passage of cultural heritage not just from one generation to the next, but also from one artistic medium to another.
Watch an excerpt online: